There need to be more events like Mungo’s Hi Fi in Venue 1 on Saturday night in St Andrews. This is not to say that it was one of the best nights one could ever have, far from it in fact. However, there were a few basic things that this Music is Love event did very right. The music was enjoyable, the atmosphere was relaxed and the sound system was decent. Tangentially, I think Tinchy Stryder came to play at the Union during my freshers’ week. It would be great if we could have less of that and more of Mungo’s.
Obviously as a sound system, Mungo’s know what they’re doing. Credit should also be given to the bass. Odd and banal though it may sound, this little detail, so often absent from music-reliant nights in St Andrews, was quite vital. The music carried and reverberated through the space, making the cavernous Venue 1 intimate and relaxed. Palpable vibration emanated and undulated throughout, in what a gimp might describe as a socio-sonic-somatic scene. Admittedly, the atmosphere seemed to drop as people started to head home around 1am.
Beyond the meat and bones of the event itself, it’s reasonable pricing (£6 advance, £8 on the door) was a welcome breath of fresh air, especially in comparison to the ongoing fashion shows. To be frank, it was clear where one’s money was going. If you wanted a night of good music, it was a chance begging to be taken. Mungo’s Hi Fi’s brand of modern, danceable dub/reggae stuff. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about this genre but I the fact that even an uninitiated band-waggon hopper like me could really enjoy himself was clearly a good sign.
Canvassing the crowd when the event was in full swing also returned the same positive feeling. Hayley Kassay described her overall impression in terms of a specific style, “boho chic”. And although Michael Turkington dismissed it as it “look[ed] like the Bop”, Ashton Thorpe opted for a much more effusive “2 AIGH!!”. I would say that reality lies somewhere between the first and the last comments.
In general though, reggae seems to be a genre that doesn’t receive much love in St Andrews. Maybe it’s the absence of suitable venues; bass-heavy and loud speakers definitely help appreciate the sound. Maybe it’s a symptom of the veracity of the unfortunate university stereotype, smartly-dressed dinner parties attended by precocious socialites. Maybe people just don’t really like it. Regardless, I feel like last night did demonstrate the potential for success of future similar events. In a sense, Mungo’s Hi Fi scraped the ice berg of what a cheap venue with good DJs can achieve. There is a serious lack of this sort of unpretentious, feel-good night in St Andrews. Taking myself outside into the smoking area for a break, I got chatting to one of the guys in Mungo’s Hi Fi group itself. Asking him about how he felt the night was going, and the quality of the crowd, he told me that he thought it was “a good party”. That sounds about right.